With all the technological advancements we enjoy in this day and age you'd think people would have a lot less to complain about. Somehow this is not the case and no matter what the situation it seems that folks tend to look for the very worst – often forgetting how amazing the experience itself might be. A comedian on a late night talk show recently noted the list of gripes presented by a gentlemen with whom he shared a seat row on a cross continental flight.
The gentleman was upset because he was stuck in the middle seat, his chair back wouldn't recline and the air was too stuffy. And so the comic reminded him, “Man – do you realize you're flying now? You don't even have to pedal. You're not flapping your arms – you're just sitting in a seat floating in the air. It's amazing! Every time you climb aboard one of these things you might think how long it took your ancestors to cross the continent and the hardships they were forced to endure. Did I mention the fact that you're flying! This is not normal – humans weren't meant to soar like this – look out the window – look down to the ground – we're flying Man!”
When it comes to complaints, itâ€™s tough to match a snowmobiler whose season has been cut short by an injury. As riders, we spend all summer dreaming of endless deep powder days and a season-ending injury can be devastating, especially in the early season. Unless you like to live vicariously through your buddies, then you will quickly grow tired of hearing about the most recent deep powder ride and the group's latest exploits.
I should know as I have not only experienced my fair share of past injuries (3 accident related surgeries) but as well find myself sitting this one out with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in my knee. Fortunately I have always had very dear friends who did more than extend a helping hand during my time of duress – they actually beat me back into the game. Whether it was Jen Gulliver who shut down my alcohol supply and set me up with a new corner desk and lap top when I tore my lower leg off in 2002 or Jon Paulse who seemed to maintain an endless supply of rubber caps for my crutches (I went through 7 sets that winter) I never had the luxury of complaint and so developed a formidable defense which actually helped to improve my riding skills, endurance and mental state.
Hopefully you too can take some solace from the following list of suggestions – whether you're injured or simply sidelined by an anemic snowfall.
1. VCR / DVD Videos: Film provides the perfect escape and an opportunity to re-live your own recordings or those offered by professional companies. This is an excellent chance to critique your own riding and or observe the technique exhibited by the pros. Don't lament if you've seen them all before as a repeat viewing allows you the chance to look for potential lines of your own, think about different camera angles and a more in depth study of the film / riding adventure
2. Magazines: Periodicals provide a wonderful insight to every aspect of the sport – from mechanical tips to riding suggestions, destination reviews or the latest offering from your favorite pros – Magazines will get you thinking and inspire new ideas to help get you back in the game. You might also consider some alternative offerings from the ski and snowboard community as these are excellent crossover sports whose topics can be quite relevant to the snowmobile community.
3. Greaser: A truly great rider should be equally adept on the mechanical front. This is a great time to get comfortable with your sleds running gear. Whether you're an old hand that's finally found time to tear the engine down or a keen learner who has nothing to lose regarding the timeliness of figuring out the replacement of your suspension bearings.
4. Iron Chef: Just because you can't ride doesn't mean you should be missing out on the road trip. Often times the camp is road accessible or even a short trail ride away. While you mightn't be tearing up the mountains you'll still be available for the aprÃ¨s soiree and I'm certain the boys will appreciate a meal that took an entire afternoon to prepare – just go easy on the homemade beans.
5. Workout: I know we all hate the gym and if you don't then you should. Fact is though; it's the fastest route to recovery and the nest defense you have against reinjury. Don't be afraid to admit your ignorance if you're unfamiliar with the equipment – nor to start with smaller weights. Of course the views can be as spectacular as any mountain vista with an opportunity for a close up if you find the right trainer.
6. Writing: With more time to research you can quickly establish yourself as an expert in any field. A good blogger can develop a loyal following and perks for writers can be significant including everything from free travel to swag.
7. Photography: This could be a great opportunity to brush up on your camera skills – both still and video. I never touched a camera before I tore my leg off back in 2002 and I ended up with a whole new skill set that has not only kept me in the game but also extended my career as a valued team member. Practice following birds with the zoom on your video camera and playing with a variety of settings to capture a variety of moments on the still.
8. Sled for Sale: This might seem completely contrary to the net benefits derived from your rehab program, but when are you ever going to get a better price than the dead of winter. You'd never consider it in a normal year and this might be the perfect opportunity to upgrade – sell high and replace in the spring when prices are cheap.
Sweat your brains out!